Delia Smith is probably my favourite ‘celebrity chef’. I think it’s because she’s really down to earth, and so are her recipes. Easy to follow recipes that result in simple, hearty, tasty food.
This week’s recipe is a case in point, her sticky date cake. Delia calls it a ‘boil and bake’ cake – not terribly enticing I admit, but bear with me.
It’s quick to mix but takes up to 3 hours to bake in a low oven. The result is a big, unctuous, flavourful fruit-filled cake. The original recipe calls for a dollop of orange marmalade – which we never have in the house – so I substituted it for some lime marmalade I made a while ago.
The taste and texture of this cake make it like a cross between a sticky toffee pudding and a Christmas cake.
Try it with vanilla ice cream, thick pouring cream and a splash of brandy or rum for a festive flourish!
- 225g/8oz chopped dried dates
- 175g/6oz sultanas
- 110g/4oz raisins
- 110g/4oz currants
- 27g/10oz margarine
- 275ml/½pt water
- 1 tin condensed milk
- 150g/5oz plain flour
- 150g/5oz wholemeal flour
- ¾tsp bicarbonate of soda
- pinch of salt
- 1 generous tbsp chunky marmalade
- Preheat the oven to 170ºC/325ºF/Gas mark 3
- Grease & line a 20cm/8-inch square cake tin
- Place all of the dried fruit in a large saucepan together with the margerine, water and condensed milk and bring to the boil
- Stir frequently to avoid sticking
- Simmer the mixture for exactly 3 minutes and stir occasionally
- Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and allow to cool for half an hour
- While it's cooling, weigh the flours and sift them into a bowl together with the salt and bicarbonate of soda. (When sieving wholemeal flour, you often find small quantities of bran left in the sieve; these can be tipped on to the already sieved flour)
- When the mixture has cooled stir in the flour mix and add a good round tablespoon of marmalade
- Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and bake on the centre shelf of the oven for 2½-3 hours. (Take a look at the cake about ¾ of the way through the baking time and, if the top looks a bit dark, cover it with a double square of greaseproof paper to prevent further browning)
- After removing the cake from the oven, let it cool in the tin for 5 minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack
- This is quite a large cake which will keep well for several weeks in an airtight tin